#VoteNHS

In your constituency, what are Parliamentary candidates saying about the NHS?

Click here to find out:

A recent Shropshire Star poll showed that the NHS was, by a very big margin, the single most important election issue for Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin voters.

It’s no wonder. Nationally the NHS and social care are at a tipping point. Targets for cancer care, ambulance response times, and A&E treatment are being missed. Waiting lists for planned surgery are rising inexorably. There aren’t enough doctors, nurses or other staff. There aren’t enough beds. The gaps in social care reinforce the NHS crisis, and leave a growing number of people without the support they need. The Health Select Committee and independent NHS think tanks such as the King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust have highlighted the funding crisis in the NHS, and the way this is now affecting patient care.

In Shropshire, things are, if anything, even worse. Our area is grotesquely underfunded, getting the 6th lowest level of funding in the whole country – despite above average health need. Telford and Wrekin people face the loss of the A&E and Women’s and Children’s Centre. The remaining A&E will have capacity reduced by a shocking 60% – a direct route to chaos, given that our two A&Es couldn’t cope between them this winter. Rationing and cuts are already affecting hip and knee replacement surgery, mental health services, and referrals for specialist care. In Shropshire, social care cuts have been devastating for frail elderly people, people with learning disabilities, and people with mental health problems.

And it’s going to get worse – unless the NHS gets a sharp increase in funding. Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin together now face cuts to NHS services of more than £125 million every single year, and around 2000 local NHS workers are set to lose their jobs. Do we really spend £125 million ‘too much’ on local healthcare? Of course not.

Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin Defend Our NHS is not a party political campaign. We have no intention of telling you who to vote for. We do believe that NHS funding and NHS cuts are political issues, though, and we hope every voter will think carefully about the NHS when they put their cross on that bit of paper.

We carried out an online survey of all Parliamentary candidates standing for seats in Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin. The survey took a few minutes to complete, as it was based on Yes-No questions. There were no trick questions, and we were not trying to catch anyone out. We knew that restricting candidates to ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ was simplistic, so for every question we provided space for comments – candidates could either provide more information, or if they wished, disagree with the content or format of the question. We also gave space for their overall thoughts on the NHS. Our questions gave examples of problems in the NHS, and these were strictly evidence based. We asked about national and local NHS issues.

The response

The overall response rate was 52%, a little over a half. We were slightly disappointed by this, because we believe politicians and aspiring politicians should, as a matter of principle, be accountable to the electorate.

There were patterns within that overall response rate. No Conservative candidates completed the survey. All Labour candidates responded (as did the one independent candidate). Other parties fell somewhere in between.

Response Rate by Party

Party

No of Candidates

No of Survey Responses

Percentage Responding

Conservative[1]

5

0

0

Green[2]

5

4

80

Independent

1

1

100

Labour

5

5

100

Liberal Democrat[3]

5

1

20

UKIP

2

1

50

Response Rate by Constituency

Constituency

No of Candidates

No of Survey Responses

Percentage Responding

Telford

4

2 50

The Wrekin

6 4 67

North Shropshire

4 2

50

Shrewsbury & Atcham

5 3

60

Ludlow

4 1

25

 

Click on the name of your constituency (above) to see the responses from your local candidates.

Final thoughts

Please take the time to look at the responses from candidates in your own constituency. Also, of course, consider the lack of responses from other candidates in your constituency. NHS staff are telling us again and again about a health service that is starved of resources and heading for crisis. It is absolutely reasonable to have an expectation that our politicians will be prepared to be challenged and to answer questions on an issue that is so important to all of us.

And from many of those candidates who chose to respond, their comments reflect knowledge, commitment, and passion. That is precisely the combination that the NHS needs if it is to have a future.

For the NHS, this election matters. This may be the most important year for the NHS since 1948, when it was founded. The NHS is on the brink now. Please vote. It’s important this time. And when you vote, please do everything you can to Vote NHS.

[1] Ludlow candidate Philip Dunne emailed to say he did not respond to surveys before, during or after the General Election period. Telford candidate Lucy Allan sent a letter outlining government policy on the NHS, but did not complete the survey

[2] Ludlow candidate Hilary Wendt has sent her apologies for not responding, noting her very high work load

[3] We were unable to find contact details for Telford candidate Susan King

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